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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: August 2019

Part II - Five Case Studies

  • James Gerber, San Diego State University
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • pp 67-182


The Great Depression has an outsized hold on the imagination of economists. Former Chair of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, once began an academic paper with the line “To understand the Great Depression is the Holy Grail of macroeconomics” (Bernanke, 1995). His sentiment reflects the importance of the Great Depression and a sense of mystery that is perhaps beyond our ability to completely understand. Many other economists have tried their hand at the Great Depression and many more have chosen careers in economics partly so they could develop a deeper understanding of the causes of that seminal event in world history.